Monday, September 19, 2011

Klan Keeps it Klean...Kinda'

As I mentioned in my last post I have been searching out sources about the KKK for a teacher workshop on terrorism. I have found a number of things, but one of the most interesting was a pamphlet printed in Frankfort in 1877. This document, titled The Confession of Richard A. Shuck: A Member of the Owen and Henry County Marauders of the State of Kentucky was written as told to author Jesse Fears.

The short work was intended to keep young people from going down the same road Shuck had traveled. Shuck was born in 1851 and came of age in Kentucky during the violent era of Reconstruction (or Readjustment as they called it here in the Bluegrass). When Shuck was about 20 years old he witnessed a murder. He was found out and threatened if he told on the perpetrators and did not join in the group on future depredations.

Throughout the work Shuck relates the numerous murders, beatings and robberies in which the gang was involved. In one of the tales a young man was killed and found to only have $14 on him. Many of the robberies happened along the route of the Kentucky River and the roads that ran near it in Henry and Owen counties. Along with their outlaw ways the group participated as an affiliate of the Ku Klux Klan.

In the section called "Ku-Klux Deviltry," Shuck relates that the KKK of the Reconstruction era did not only harass Republicans and African Americans, but also those whites that they didn't feel were holding up proper community standards. It's kind of ironic that a band of robbers and murderers would be passing judgement on others, but it obviously did.

The short section reads:

"As the reader will no doubt expect to hear of some remarkable thing done by the Ku-Klux, I will quiet their expectations by telling them that but little was done while I was with them, save the whipping of a negro occasionally, and one or two white men who were indolent and would not provide for their families.

While speaking of the Ku-Klux, I will relate one little thing that occurred during one of our raids. We were returning from visiting some negroes on Flat Creek and having notice of a certain lady immediately on our way who kept a very unclean and illy-regulated house, we determined to stop and clean up for her. We were not disappointed in our information relative to the house. We allotted the work in proportion to the number we had in our company. Some were to scour the floor, some the cooking vessels, others the milk vessels, while others were to attend to the washing and cleaning the woman’s face, neck and ears. They procured some corn-cobs and commenced the execution of their allotted work. The lady heartily protested, and begged leave to attend to her person herself; but the boys determined that she should at least once have a clean face and neck. They went to work with their cobs and soon completed their task. In the meantime the other work was progressing, and was soon completed. We then parted with her, leaving her with many good wishes and hope of her future prosperity."


  1. Those marauders were all my great grandfathers brothers except for the father-in-law King Jim Simmons. When my great uncles concluded their business of highwaymen they would go to my great grandmothers tavern in Gratz, Ky. It was there where my grandmother met my grandfather. Hanging all of my great grandfathers brothers did not stop our problem as my grandfather was shot dead on the streets of Cincinnati at age 39, and my father after coming back from WW2 with a medal was placed in prison for 7 years for forging a $40 check...we did not see him for 30 years. The sins of the fathers.....they tore my brothers up and we have been living as outcast ever since. Even our shawnee heritage will not claim us from Bluejacket. Cast a die.